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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:19 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:48 pm
Posts: 45
Am not sure where to start.

Can a man with a lifelong history of masturbation/pornography/internet pornography change, be taught new life skills, grow up emotionally and learn empathy? Is it a choice?

When confronted with disconnected behaviours, he becomes angry, defensive, and attempts to minimize his actions. He digs in his heels and will give me the silent treatment, and hurls the following at me, with a snarling face 'I am a masturbator!!!', and his face is right into mine. It scares me, and tells me that all the hours of individual therapy and attendance at 12 steps meetings have not significantly taught him any new life management skills or how to deal with anxiety or stress. He becomes emotionally abusive and bullies me. He claims that he has not had any relapse or slips since May 2014. His actions tell me otherwise, my gut antenna is clamoring and I really cannot do this anymore.

His sobriety seems to be the hallmark of his recovery, it does not feel like it is value-based. In the two and half years since discovery, he relapsed three times. My own recovery has been rocky because of his recurring relapses.

1.The first time, it happened after eight months of white knuckling it, and he bold faced lied to his therapist for eight months after, and I had to discover on his ipad pictures of my face photoshopped over pornographic bodies, to which he masturbated. So this was my second discovery, in June 2013. He also deleted the history on his Mac. I asked him to move out and he did. He returned home to take care of me in August because I underwent emergency surgery.

2. In September 2013, in one of our conversations, he blamed me for his relapse of Sept 2012-May 2013. This was devastating to me, and I ended up in the hospital again, having drunk two tumblers of straight liquor, to make the pain stop... there was the post-operative pain, and the emotional pain. My blood alcohol level was dangerously high and there by the grace of God I could have died of alcohol toxicity. I do not in my heart believe that this was a suicide attempt, I just wanted the pain to stop. It turns out that I had a bleeding duodenal ulcer brought on by Decadron and Advil. After this, we had a couple meeting with my own therapist, and he did own the fact that he had blamed me, he showed contrition...

3. Well, in October 2013, I caught him taking pictures of his erect penis, and pasting them on his computer, next to pictures of my face, and masturbating to that. He thought that this was OK!! It was not internet pornography, just making his own. He withheld this information from his therapist and 12-step group. Makes me wonder what else he could have done with those pictures.

4. In May 2014, I discovered that he had been looking at burlesque sites on Facebook, so much so that transgender groups had tried to recruit him for their sites. Turns out this had been going on since Jan. 2014.

So, my recovery has been rocky, I keep getting retraumatized, and I cannot go on anymore. My husband accuses me of being hypervigilant and seeking retribution. Our sex life is non-existant, has been like this for ages. I did not know that he was self-soothing with pornography... I feel like that part of me was stolen.

I am 63 years old, have been married for 38 years, and discovered in January 2012 that our whole married life had been lived in the shadow of masturbation/pornography. I found out after the initial discovery that this masturbation/pornography/fantasies had started well before our marriage, and the advent of the internet just facilitated the whole business. It explained so much of what was off: impotence, disconnection, cold, distant. He is a professional highly respected and of course, I thought that whatever was wrong in our marriage had to be my fault... I weep over the person that I was, so trusting and loving against all odds. Am not convinced that another shoe is not about to drop. His family history is a text-book case of attachment disorder, cold mother, physically abused by overbearing father, only child, no extended family, a little boy who was hatched and never raised. I feel sadness for that little boy, and so wish that he would grow up. He has deep resentment and anger against his mother, and I feel sometimes that he does to me what what done to him. He speaks of wanting revenge for what was done to him. Is he exacting revenge on me?? Is this why he accuses me of seeking retribution, because that is what he would like to do?

I have been lurking for a long time on RN, and have done the workshops, but never posted. It took me ages to figure out how to sign on, computers are not easy for me. Am grateful for RN, and all the brave and courageous women who shared so openly, their wisdom and insight. Thank you.

At this stage, I find my joy with my grandchildren and children, seek peace and calm in nature and birds, gardening... simple pleasures... I have no more expectation for this relationship, look at it as a business contract that provides financial security. It is when I start to expect something that I trip emotionally.
My behaviour becomes unbecoming to my own values, and I loose my cool and hurl abusive words at my husband. Love has really nothing to do with this, I just know that loving someone should not hurt them so much, and so much of the time.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:34 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:25 pm
Posts: 6
I'm so sorry you're going through this. You're in my prayers today.

From the information you shared, it sounds like your husband has tried a variety of things to get better - counseling/therapy, 12 step program, ect.. with no progress? Have you seen a difference in him when he has been active in these?

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:52 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:33 pm
Posts: 96
I'm so sorry of the pain that I know you are in today. I'm kind of a mess at the moment myself, but I wanted to try to respond.

I do not know if a SA ever fully recovers. I think it is a chronic condition that waxes and wanes. I believe it is possible to better manage it, but the potential for relapse is always there, I'm afraid.

So, I think one of the things that you have to decide is whether you can live with that if it happens -- and what needs to happen if (and sadly, when) it occurs. Do you have the capacity to forgive? I believe that even love has a limit. Each person has to decide where that limit is for themselves.

You have probably heard people give the advice to "focus on yourself." I admit that when that same advice was given to me, I was not at a place to receive it or to understand it completely, although it now makes more sense.

I'm not sure if this will help, but I tried to take the focus off the "decision" -- do I stay or do I go -- and to decide what kind of relationship I wanted to have. I admit this was a struggle at times. I was brought up to believe that relationships are about compromise and often I tolerated things that were not right for me because I was trying to be understanding -- I cared about him, saw his pain and struggle, and wanted to make life easier for him -- this was how I was raised to show love -- but it backfired and it tore at my soul.

I finally reached a point where it wasn't even about SA. It was just about how his choices made me feel and about how he wasn't able to provide the relationship that I wanted.

I think for me, the worst part was feeling like he could've provided the relationship if he wanted to. I try to stay focused on the fact that he didn't have the ability to do so, but it's a real struggle.

But that's what SA does. It makes you feel unworthy. You need to know in your heart that you have value and that you deserve better. Self esteem is like a need to take care of it to keep it alive.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:19 am 

Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:48 pm
Posts: 45
Thank you, Nellie James, for your response. Your wisdom, earned through your own private hell, is valuable. Thank you for sharing it. You have given me food for thought... I also remember 'give yourself the gift of patience'...

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